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The quarter note consists of a notehead and a stem. Like all note values, the stem can point upwards or downwards, depending on the placement of the note on the staff.
Recall from the introduction on time signatures that the top number in the time signature indicates how many beats are in a measure, and the bottom number indicates what note value is equal to one beat. In each of these time signatures, the number 4 on the bottom tells us that the quarter note is equal to one beat.
Here are three examples of quarter notes in 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4
The numbers underneath the notes indicate each beat of the measure. Since the quarter note is equal to one beat, each note will last for the entire duration of that beat.
Silence in music is represented by rests. The quarter rest is equal to the same duration as the quarter note, but it looks very different.
When playing quarter notes that are followed by rests, make sure to sustain the quarter note for the entire beat on which it occurs. For example, in the rhythm below, you should cut off the quarter note at the beginning of beat two.
Write your own rhythms and music compositions! Get free blank staff paper at www.music-paper.com.